Revised Common Lectionary: Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31 and Psalm 8; Romans 5:1-5; John 16:12-15
Narrative Lectionary: Series on Ten Commandments, Exodus 19:1-6, 20:1-2 (Matthew 22:34-40)
For this first Sunday after Pentecost, Trinity Sunday celebrates the great mystery of God as Three-In-One: Creator (traditionally the Father), Christ (traditionally the Son), and the Holy Spirit.
Our first selection is from Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31. Wisdom, personified as feminine in the Hebrew Scriptures, calls out to us like a woman at a crossroads crying out to listen to her voice. Verses 22-31 is another account of creation, in which Wisdom is the first creation of God, from before anything else was formed. When the heavens were established, the waters given boundaries, the hills brought forth—when all of creation was made, Wisdom was there, and rejoiced as God inhabited the world with people. Wisdom delighted in the creation of humanity.
Psalm 8 is a song of wonder and awe at God’s creation, a song of wisdom, for the beginning of wisdom is the awe of God. God has built a foundation from the voices of children and infants, for their voices bring praise to God and silence enemies. When the psalmist looks at all of creation and the universe, the singer wonders why God made human beings and why God cares about us at all? Yet we were made a little lower than divine beings, and given the responsibility to care for the earth and all of creation.
Paul declares in Romans 5:1-5 that it is our faith that justifies us in knowing Christ as our Savior, not by our works. God’s love has been poured out to us through the Holy Spirit, and despite all our sufferings, all we have been through, we know that hope remains because of God’s love. We endure because we know God’s love is with us.
In John 16:12-15, Jesus prepares the disciples before his death and resurrection for the arrival of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth. Everything would be made known to them through the Spirit, even though they did not understand it all at that time, because everything of Christ belongs to God and everything of God belongs to Christ; they are one.
The Narrative Lectionary begins its summer series, and the first series contains four parts on the Ten Commandments. Beginning with Exodus 19:1-6 and 20:1-2, the people of Israel arrived at Sinai after crossing the Red Sea. God called to Moses from the mountain, declaring that the people were to be God’s priestly nation. God brought them out of Egypt, out of their oppression, and called them to obey God’s voice. God is their God, and they are to have no other gods before them.
The second selection for this series is the same for the next four Sundays: Matthew 22:34-40. In Matthew’s account, Jesus was teaching in the temple and was challenged by different groups: first the Sadducees, and then the Pharisees. This was common practice for rabbis to debate each other. The Pharisees had one of their lawyers ask Jesus which commandment was the greatest, and Jesus replied with part of the Shema, the call to prayer: to love God with one’s whole being. Jesus also included “you shall love your neighbor as yourself,” from Leviticus 19:18, which other rabbis in the first century also lifted up. Jesus then stated that on these two commandments hang the law and the prophets—in other words, the entire meaning of the Bible collected at that time.
The Trinity is a mystery, as is the work of the Holy Spirit, Wisdom among us. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of understanding,” Psalm 110:10 teaches us, but fear is better translated here as “awe.” It is that trembling sense of awe at the might and wonder of God. This is the beginning of wisdom. This is the beginning of our understanding of God as three-in-one, Triune. It is a mystery how God created the universe, how God became known to us in the person of Jesus Christ, and how God moves in and within us in the work of the Spirit. It is a mystery that we can come to know God through history and teaching and Scripture, but also through nature, and our own experience that leads us to understanding.
I lean toward Psalm 8 in this selection for a few reasons: 1) the recent events of violence, especially the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, remind me that we must listen and protect the most vulnerable among us, the ones Christ taught us that the kingdom of heaven belongs. 2) In that same psalm, the singer wonders at the works of God and who we are as human beings, and that we have been created a little lower than God to care for the earth. It is a sacred responsibility. And if we listen again to those voices from the mouths of babes, we hear the wisdom of God: care for the earth. We have a responsibility to God and also to the next generation. This is the wisdom that is crying out for us to listen.
Call to Worship
Wisdom calls out to us,
At the crossroads she calls us to listen!
Hear the voice of God:
“Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Care for the earth, care for your neighbor,
And love our God: Creator, Savior, and Spirit.
With all our heart, soul, mind and strength,
May we worship God with our whole being.
Prayer of Brokenness/Confession
Thou Wisdom from on high, we confess we have been foolish. We have not listened to our children. We have not protected them. We have not done everything we can to keep them safe and to help them thrive. We have exploited the most vulnerable of our society and have failed to leave the world better for them. Forgive us, O God, for our foolish and selfish ways, and call us into accountability. Remind us that we must care for the earth now for ourselves and for future generations. We must love one another now including the most vulnerable among us. We must see all children as made in Your image, all of us beloved by You, and we must work to make the world a better place. Help us, O God, to do the hard work to restore what we have broken, and to listen to Your Holy Wisdom. Amen.
God’s love has been poured out for us, and we know God’s love through the Holy Spirit, and the life of Christ. God has known your voice since you first cried out. You are God’s beloved child. You are forgiven and loved and very much part of God’s beloved community. Go and share the good news with others. More than ever, may we all know how much we are loved and may we love one another. Amen.
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty! We sing praises to You, Great God of Mystery, the God Who Was and Who Is and Who Is to Come. You gave your name to our ancestors as, “I Am” or “To Be,” and You breathed life into us and all of creation. You are the one in whom we live, move, and have our being, and You are Being. We come to You in this time full of wonder and awe at You, Great Mystery, Holy Spirit, Divine Presence, Source of Life. All our names for You fall short of who You are. May we simply take this time to be in awe of You, the works of creation, and the work of Your spirit in our lives. Amen and Amen.